G05
Doing autoethnography: a practice of realist ethnography or rewriting memory?

Convenors:
Quinbala Marak (North-Eastern Hill University)
Discussant:
Dr. Mitoo Das and Dr. Salma Siddique
Location:
Alan Turing Building G205
Start time:
8 August, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Autoethnography developed in recent years as a result of post-modernist leanings. This panel proposes to look into the pros and cons of such a method as a part of anthropological studies. It will also look at the various ways how this method could be applied most objectively and scientifically.

Long abstract:

Ethnography in anthropology has for a very long time been focused on the study of the "Other". Field methods and techniques have been developed accordingly. While ethnography is a method of qualitative research that describes human social phenomena based on fieldwork of a community which is not the researcher's own, in autoethnography the researcher studies the "Self". The benefits of autoethnography are many - research of such a personal nature might give us insight into problems often overlooked in culture. These could be issues such as the nature of identity, ethnicity, sexuality, political life and undercurrents etc. However, there are many who criticize this form of ethnography as sentimental, unscientific and personal. This could, if done subjectively, lead to rewriting of one's collective memory. Autoethnography developed in the non-western world as a result of post-modernist leanings and as a validation of scholarship of "native" scholars. This has many times helped "correct" notions of a community that was under anthropological focus and provided answers to many queries. This panel proposes to look into the positive and negative aspects of doing autoethnography, and how far it is possible to bring into fore the undercurrents of a studied society's social, economic, religious and political life through this type of ethnography. This panel invites presenters who have been doing autoethnography, been exposed to it or who is theoretically interested in it. It is hoped that through the wide-ranging presentations, certain conclusions would be derived.